Archive for the ‘Cycles’ Category

Mars [image credit: NASA]

It’s said to be related to the current obliquity cycle period of about 100,000 years. Mystery solved?
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Seen from space, regions of Mars around the south pole have a bizarre, pitted “Swiss cheese” appearance, says ScienceAlert.

These formations come from alternating massive deposits of CO2 ice and water ice, similar to different layers of a cake.

For decades, planetary scientists wondered how this formation was possible, as it was long believed that this layering would not be stable for long periods of time.


Variation in solar activity during a recent sunspot cycle [credit: Wikipedia]

The article says ‘The average sunspot numbers for January and February 2023 were some of the highest for around 10 years’. Rarely mentioned, but Jupiter’s perihelion, i.e. its closest orbital approach to the Sun, occurred in late January.
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With several solar flares and coronal mass ejections soaring out into space, the sun has had an active few months as the current solar cycle gathers momentum, says Newsweek.

This solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, is exceeding expectations in terms of activity, as it was initially forecast in 2019 that it would have a similar activity level to that of the previous cycle.

However, Solar Cycle 25 has now outperformed the official forecast for over 24 consecutive months, with sunspot numbers already approaching those seen during the maximum of the previous cycle.

The average sunspot numbers for January and February 2023 were some of the highest for around 10 years, according to NOAA data, with January seeing 143 sunspots, while February had 110. The previous highest-scoring month was during the peak of the previous cycle, Solar Cycle 24, with 146 sunspots occurring in February 2014.

The solar cycle follows 11-year fluctuations of activity, increasing towards the solar maximum in the middle of each cycle. The last solar minimum was in 2019, with the next solar maximum forecast for 2025. Solar Cycle 25 is so-called because it is the 25th cycle since records began in 1755.

These increased sunspot levels have led to higher frequencies of solar activity, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which have lit up the night sky with spectacular aurora as far south as France, and caused several geomagnetic storm-triggered radio blackouts in the past week alone.

When the twisted magnetic fields of sunspots suddenly realign, this can cause the sun to release huge amounts of electromagnetic radiation in the form of solar flares, and also spew out vast clouds of solar plasma as CMEs.

These solar phenomena then react with the chemicals in our atmosphere, leading to a kaleidoscope of colors being seen in the night sky in the form of the Northern and Southern lights, as were seen across the world on Tuesday as a result of two massive CMEs released on February 24 and 25.

Full article here.
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NASA’s Solar Cycle 25 blog is here.

Freighter passing a sandbank on the Rhine river [image credit:]

Mixed messages from climate research here. In between evidence-free waffle about ‘potential’ human influence, they report that severe drought spells are nothing new in Europe, implying climate cycles of some sort. This means attribution of such drought to human causes is debatable, as the article admits.
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The 2015–2018 summer droughts have been exceptional in large parts of Western and Central Europe over the last 400 years, in terms of the magnitude of drought conditions.

This indicates an influence of man-made global warming, claims

However, multi-year droughts have occurred frequently in the 17th and 18th century, although not as severe.

This is the result of a new study in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.


Leaders posing as controllers of the weather demand impossible to achieve and damaging energy policies. Is this (cartoon) where net zero is taking us? Ignoring the sun won’t work.
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According to the clerics of the Green Cult, once we blow up our last coal mine, send all diesel engines to the wreckers, stop using concrete, reinvent sailing clippers, cover the grasslands and hills with solar clutter and wind machines, and then slaughter all of our cattle… global climate will become serene – not too warm, not too cold, writes Viv Forbes (via Climate Change Dispatch).

Wild weather will cease, and there will be no more droughts, floods, cyclones, or snowstorms and no more plant and animal extinctions.

But the records written in the rocks tell a far different story about climate changes. Even when nature was in full control, it was not a serene place.


Some uncertainties with this topic. Researchers here propose a 70-year cycle, but other theories say 20-30 years, or even no cycle at all.
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Earth’s inner core, a hot iron ball the size of Pluto, has stopped spinning faster than the planet’s surface and might now be rotating slower than it, research suggested on Monday.

Roughly 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) below the surface we live on, this “planet within the planet” can spin independently because it floats in the liquid metal outer core, says

Exactly how the inner core rotates has been a matter of debate between scientists—and the latest research is expected to prove controversial.


Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Blinkered climate obsessives, from protesters to governments, need to wise up about their pet topic. Professor Ian Plimer offers some assistance to trace gas worriers.
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For more than 80 percent of the time, Earth has been a warm wet greenhouse planet with no ice, says Ian Plimer at Spectator AU (via Climate Change Dispatch.

We live in unusual times when ice occurs on continents. This did not happen overnight.

The great southern continent, Gondwanaland, formed about 550 million years ago. It occupied 20 percent of the area of our planet and included Antarctica, South America, Australia, South Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.

Gondwanaland was covered by ice when it drifted across the South Pole 360-255 million years ago. Evidence for this ice age is in the black coal districts of Australia, South Africa, and India.


The last El Niño was 6-7 years ago, but elapsed time can’t on its own be a guarantee of one this year. Neutral ENSO conditions are another option. As usual an assertion about warming from greenhouse gases is thrown in, with no evidence to back it up.
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Climate models indicate La Niña is on the way out, with El Niño conditions expected later this year, claims

CSIRO Climate Scientist Dr. Wenju Cai explains what this means for Australia’s weather and how changing conditions will affect the country.

Is La Niña really on the way out? What do the climate models tell us?

We are in the mature season of the current three-consecutive La Niña years. During the three years, heat has been stored in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.


Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy

Introducing the term: Astronomical Harmonic Resonances (AHR). To see the figures cited below, go to the original article (here). A familiar topic to long-time Talkshop visitors, e.g. here.
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The mechanism and even the existence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) have remained under debate among climate researchers, and the same applies to general temperature oscillations of a 60- to 90-year period, writes Antero Oilia, Ph.D. @ Climate Change Dispatch.

The recently published study of Ollila and Timonen has found that these oscillations are real and they are related to 60- and 88-year periodicities originating from the planetary and solar activity oscillations.

These oscillations can be observed in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (PMO), and actually in the global surface temperature (GST). The similarities between the GST, AMO, PMO, and AHR (Astronomical Harmonic Resonances) are obvious in Fig. 1.

The oscillations are not limited only to temperatures.


Cosmic Rays Sink to a 6-Year Low

Posted: January 1, 2023 by oldbrew in cosmic rays, Cycles, solar system dynamics

The approach to solar max is underway.

Dec. 30, 2022: Cosmic rays reaching Earth just hit a six-year low. Neutron counters in Oulu, Finland, registered the sudden decrease on Dec. 26th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field:

The CME swept aside galactic cosmic rays near our planet, abruptly reducing radiation levels. Researchers call this a “Forbush Decrease,” after American physicist Scott Forbush, who studied cosmic rays in the early 20th century.

The Dec. 26th event continues a trend that began in 2020. Since then, cosmic ray fluxes have been fitfully decreasing as one CME after another hit Earth. The reason is Solar Cycle 25, which began around that time and has been gaining strength. The Forbush Decreases are adding up.

Scott Forbush was the first to notice the yin-yang relationship between solar activity and cosmic rays. When one goes up, the other goes down. CMEs play a big role in this relationship…

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A researcher said: “Remarkably, the data suggest that the ice sheets can change in response to more than just global climate,” calling into question some long-held ideas. A professor connected to the study commented: “These findings appear to poke a hole in our current understanding of how past ice sheets interacted with the rest of the climate system, including the greenhouse effect.” Well, fancy that. The commentary notes that ‘global temperatures were relatively stable at the time of the fall in sea level, raising questions about the correlation between temperature, sea level and ice volume’. In short, the ice sheets grew faster than scientists had thought.
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Princeton scientists found that the Bering Land Bridge, the strip of land that once connected Asia to Alaska, emerged far later during the last ice age than previously thought, says Eurekalert. 

The unexpected findings shorten the window of time that humans could have first migrated from Asia to the Americas across the Bering Land Bridge. 

The findings also indicate that there may be a less direct relationship between climate and global ice volume than scientists had thought, casting into doubt some explanations for the chain of events that causes ice age cycles.

The study was published on December 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This result came totally out of left field,” said Jesse Farmer, postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University and co-lead author on the study. “As it turns out, our research into sediments from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean told us not only about past climate change but also one of the great migrations in human history.”

Insight into ice age cycles

During the periodic ice ages over Earth’s history, global sea levels drop as more and more of Earth’s water becomes locked up in massive ice sheets.

At the end of each ice age, as temperatures increase, ice sheets melt and sea levels rise. These ice age cycles repeat throughout the last 3 million years of Earth’s history, but their causes have been hard to pin down.

By reconstructing the history of the Arctic Ocean over the last 50,000 years, the researchers revealed that the growth of the ice sheets — and the resulting drop in sea level — occurred surprisingly quickly and much later in the last glacial cycle than previous studies had suggested.

“One implication is that ice sheets can change more rapidly than previously thought,” Farmer said.

During the last ice age’s peak of the last ice age, known as the Last Glacial Maximum, the low sea levels exposed a vast land area that extended between Siberia and Alaska known as Beringia, which included the Bering Land Bridge. In its place today is a passage of water known as the Bering Strait, which connects the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.

Based on records of estimated global temperature and sea level, scientists thought the Bering Land Bridge emerged around 70,000 years ago, long before the Last Glacial Maximum.

But the new data show that sea levels became low enough for the land bridge to appear only 35,700 years ago. This finding was particularly surprising because global temperatures were relatively stable at the time of the fall in sea level, raising questions about the correlation between temperature, sea level and ice volume.

“Remarkably, the data suggest that the ice sheets can change in response to more than just global climate,” Farmer said. For example, the change in ice volume may have been the direct result of changes in the intensity of sunlight that struck the ice surface over the summer.

“These findings appear to poke a hole in our current understanding of how past ice sheets interacted with the rest of the climate system, including the greenhouse effect,” said Daniel Sigman, Dusenbury Professor of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton University and Farmer’s postdoctoral advisor.

“Our next goal is to extend this record further back in time to see if the same tendencies apply to other major ice sheet changes. The scientific community will be hungry for confirmation.”

Full article here.
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Study: The Bering Strait was flooded 10,000 years before the Last Glacial Maximum

Jupiter [image credit: NASA]

Unexpected patterns and teleconnections. Some new light is shed on the workings of the solar system’s largest planetary atmosphere.
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Scientists have completed the longest-ever study tracking temperatures in Jupiter’s upper troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere where the giant planet’s weather occurs and where its signature colorful striped clouds form, says Subaru Telescope.

The work, conducted over four decades by stitching together data from NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescope observations, found unexpected patterns in how temperatures of Jupiter’s belts and zones change over time.

The study is a major step toward a better understanding of what drives weather at our solar system’s largest planet and eventually being able to forecast it.

Jupiter’s troposphere has a lot in common with Earth’s: It’s where clouds form and storms churn. To understand this weather activity, scientists need to study certain properties, including wind, pressure, humidity, and temperature.


“It poses significant challenges to prevalent dynamo theories of the solar cycle.” — Indeed, but such theories were always speculative anyway.
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Dec. 12, 2022: So you thought you knew the solar cycle? Think again. A new paper published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences confirms that there is more to solar activity than the well-known 11-year sunspot cycle. Data from Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) reveal two solar cycles happening at the same time, and neither is 11 years long.

“We call it ‘the Extended Solar Cycle,'” says lead author Scott McIntosh of NCAR. “There are two overlapping patterns of activity on the sun, each lasting about 17 years.”

Solar physicists have long suspected this might be true. References to “overlapping solar cycles” can be found in research literature as far back as 1903. A figure from the new Frontiers paper seems to clinch the case:

The top panel shows sunspot counts since 1976. The curve goes up and down every 11 years, which explains why everyone thinks the…

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Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

By saying, of Antarctica’s ice sheets, “this research shows they actually advanced and retreated much more often – every 41,000 years – until at least 400,000 years ago”, the research adds a new twist to the longstanding 100,000 year problem of ice ages. It puts obliquity firmly back in the frame.
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A chance find of an unstudied Antarctic sediment core has led University of Otago researchers to flip our understanding of how often ice ages occurred in Antarctica, says Eurekalert.

Lead author Dr Christian Ohneiser, of the Department of Geology, says it turns out they were much more frequent than previously assumed.

“Until this research, it was common knowledge that over the last million years global ice volume, which includes Antarctica’s ice sheets, expanded and retreated every 100,000 years.

“However, this research shows they actually advanced and retreated much more often – every 41,000 years – until at least 400,000 years ago,” he says.


Apogee = position furthest away from Earth. Earth. Perihelion = position closest to the sun. Moon. Perigee = position closest to Earth. Sun. Aphelion = position furthest away from the sun. (Eccentricities greatly exaggerated!)

Planetary cycles affecting climate. The study title: ‘Two annual cycles of the Pacific cold tongue under orbital precession’. Some real climate change theory to ponder.
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Weather and climate modelers understand pretty well how seasonal winds and ocean currents affect El Niño patterns in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, impacting weather across the United States and sometimes worldwide, says Robert Sanders, University of California – Berkeley (via

But new computer simulations show that one driver of annual weather cycles in that region—in particular, a cold tongue of surface waters stretching westward along the equator from the coast of South America—has gone unrecognized: the changing distance between Earth and the sun.

The cold tongue, in turn, influences the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which impacts weather in California, much of North America, and often globally.


2015 Gulf of Carpentaria mangrove die-off, from space [image credit: NASA]

Even the type of local tides was involved. Researchers conclude: we can chalk the 2015 mass death up to “natural causes.”
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Over the summer of 2015, 40 million mangroves died of thirst, says

This vast die-off—the world’s largest ever recorded—killed off rich mangrove forests along fully 1,000 kilometers of coastline on Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria.

The question is, why? Last month, scientists found a culprit: a strong El Niño event, which led to a temporary fall in sea level.

That left mangroves, which rely on tides covering their roots, high and dry during an unusually dry early monsoon season.

Case closed. Or is it?


Some bold claims made here. Results needed to back them up.
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New research shows that a “solar clock” based on the sun’s magnetic field, rather than the presence or absence of sunspots, can precisely describe and predict many key changes throughout the solar cycle, says Eurekalert.

The new framework offers a significant improvement over the traditional sunspot method, because it can predict surges in dangerous solar flares or changing weather trends years in advance.

It also accurately describes many more parameters related to the solar cycle than sunspots alone.


Cosmic Rays are Decreasing

Posted: July 29, 2022 by oldbrew in Clouds, cosmic rays, Cycles

The article notes: ‘Climate scientists are engaged in a lively debate about whether or not cosmic rays affect cloud cover.’

July 26, 2022: Cosmic rays in the atmosphere are rapidly subsiding. In the past year alone, radiation levels in the air high above California have plummeted more than 15%, according to regular launches of cosmic ray balloons by and Earth to Sky Calculus. The latest measurement on July 23, 2022, registered a 6 year low:

This development, while sudden, is not unexpected. Cosmic rays from deep space are repelled by solar activity; when one goes up, the other goes down. Since 2021, Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The onset of the new solar cycle has naturally led to a decrease in cosmic radiation reaching Earth.

To many readers this may sound counterintuitive. After all, don’t solar flares produce radiation? Yes, but most high-energy radiation doesn’t come from the sun; it comes from deep space.Every day galactic cosmic rays from distant supernova explosions…

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Drought in Europe

Amid talk of ‘renewed focus on climate change’ (see below), we note similar drought conditions have happened before at times of La Niña. Two articles discussing the French drought refer to 1976, 2011 and 2022 as the three worst in recent history (similar to England). These were also years of significant spells of La Niña:
1975–1976 La Niña event
The 2010–2012 La Niña event was one of the strongest on record
La Niña Climate Cycle Could Last Into 2023, According to UN

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‘France struggles with drought over punishing summer of heat’ says

From farmers to fishermen, boat owners to ordinary households, communities across France are struggling with a severe drought that has seen an unprecedented number of regions affected by water restrictions this summer.

Like much of western Europe, the country is going through a punishing hot season of record temperatures and forest fires that have led to renewed focus on climate change.


Monsoon region

A familiar story of inaccurate climate models. The overestimates would undermine various predictions.
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Global climate tools being used to predict future temperature rises and rainfall across Asia are significantly overestimating their potential growth and impact, according to new research.

A study published in Nature Communications suggests predictions by the World Climate Research Program’s Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) are overestimating future temperature growth by between 3.4% and 11.6%, says

Based on revised calculations, an international team of researchers say this could result in the rate of snow cover loss in Asia, notably in the Himalayas, being between 10.5% and 40.2% lower than previously predicted.

As well as the physical effects on the landscape, this, they add, could have significant knock-on effects on both predicted future climate warming and water availability in Asia.


Image credit:

Not exactly a new idea, but worth pursuing. Given the present feverish pursuit of supposedly climate-related policies that attempt to counter imagined human-caused effects, all known aspects of natural variation must be highlighted and included in models.
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New analysis suggests that the Moon might be an unappreciated factor in climate change and, according to researchers from the Universities of East Anglia and Reading, its influence “cannot be discounted as an important driver of multidecadal variability of global temperature.”

It’s a suggestion that is bound to prompt debate and a possible reassessment of the relative influence of human factors on climate change in the past and the future when the lunar effect is included, says Dr. David Whitehouse @ Net Zero Watch.

It arises from the so-called lunar nodal cycle of 18.6 years caused by variations in the angle of the Moon’s orbital plane. During this period the Moon’s orbit “wobbles” between plus or minus 5 degrees relative to the Earth’s equator.